Food Safety and Quality

EggsAt Star Egg, we care about quality and food safety. In fact, we've created an innovative quality assurance program and food safety program.We have the honour of being the first shell egg grading station in Canada to implement an internationally recognized, government audited food safety program known as Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP).  We also work closely with our producers to ensure that the industry developed on farm food safety program â%uFFFD%uFFFDStart Clean/Stay Cleanâ%uFFFD%uFFFD is being properly implemented. 

Star Egg is also certified under the Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI) through the British Retail Consortium (BRC) program, which provides additional depth to our quality assurance. 

A. Quality Assurance

Star Egg is committed to producing a quality product and therefore, have developed and implemented a systematic Quality Assurance Program. There are four components of the grading process which we focus our monitoring efforts.

1) Farm Conditions

  • A member of the Star Egg management visits all of our producer farms at least once a year. It is an excellent way for us to check the product storage conditions on the farm as well as discuss any problems or suggestions the producers might have for improving product quality.
  • Drivers record product storage information at the time of pickup, which enables management to promptly and appropriately address any quality issues that may arise.

2) Shell Quality

  • All producers shipping eggs to Star Egg Company regularly have samples of their ungraded eggs hand candled by our Quality Assurance personnel to ensure they meet government regulated limits for shell quality. If the samples fail then corrective actions are taken including notifying the producer of the problem and making an on-farm visit to determine the source of the problem as well as the solution.

3) Interior Quality

  • Albumen (egg white) strength and quality â%uFFFD%uFFFDIs measured by an instrument that factors in the height of a freshly cracked egg white off of a surface as well as the weight of the egg. This value is known as a Haugh unit. The stronger the albumen the higher the Haugh unit and the better quality the egg. If an egg is measured below 67 haugh units it is considered of poor quality and directed to an egg breaking facility for use in further processed products.
  • Yolk colour -is categorized according to the Roche colour fan. The shade of the yolk is a direct result of the henâ%uFFFD%uFFFDs diet. Darker yolks are found in eggs laid by hens fed ingredients that contain higher levels of xanthophylls such as corn, peas, or grass. The typical wheat based diets of Western Canada produce egg yolks of a very light colour whereas the typical corn based diets of Eastern Canada produce dark yellow to orange coloured yolks. Our Quality Assurance personnel will alert producers of excessive yolk colour changes to ensure customer satisfaction and market availability for their eggs.

4) Finished Product Inspection

  • Is completed several times a day by Quality Assurance personnel. This allows for quick detection of equipment malfunction as well provides a way to evaluate the effectiveness of our grading personnel training program.

B. HACCP and Food Safety

In August of 1999, Star Egg became the first Shell Egg grading station to gain recognition from the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) for operating under an effective HACCP system.  HACCP is an acronym for Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point, which is an internationally recognized systematic approach for preventing hazards that may occur or develop during the course of food production.  HACCP is a spin-off of a â%uFFFD%uFFFDSafe food programâ%uFFFD%uFFFD that was developed in the 1960â%uFFFD%uFFFDs when Pillsbury, NASA, and the US Army laboratories collaborated to make a food supply for astronauts that would not cause food-borne illness in space.  Following the success of this safe food program, the general principles that would eventually be called HACCP spread to other large food processors.  In Canada, the CFIA inspects registered food processing establishments for adherence to federal standards set for each industry.  In addition, they are the body that recognizes an establishments HACCP plan and conducts quarterly audits to ensure that the HACCP system is effectively being maintained. Due to the recent relocation of Star Eggâ%uFFFD%uFFFDs production and distribution activities, the company has temporarily given up its HACCP recognized status.  It is anticipated that government recognition will be regained by the fall of 2009.

C. On Farm Food Safety â%uFFFD%uFFFDStart Clean/ Stay Cleanâ%uFFFD%uFFFD

In 1990 the Canadian Egg Marketing Agency (CEMA) developed a program (Safe from Salmonella) to reduce the risk of Salmonella in the Canadian egg supply. This program was intended to be a control program for preventing Salmonella from causing outbreaks of disease. However, after the programâ%uFFFD%uFFFDs introduction, the egg industry came to realize that the same control practices used against Salmonella could be applied to other organisms that cause food-borne illness or poultry disease and from that the â%uFFFD%uFFFDStart Clean / Stay Cleanâ%uFFFD%uFFFD (SCSC) on farm food safety program was born.

SCSC is a HACCP based on farm program designed to minimize food- borne microbes during egg production through a comprehensive system of prerequisite controls combined with HACCP principles. Producers are inspected annually by CEMA representatives to ensure all SCSC principles are being properly applied and detailed, paperwork is being maintained. Star Egg and CEMA personnel also offer producers advice on how to improve their flock management program and reduce the risk of pathogenic contamination.

View our current newsletter